State high court declines redistricting authority
Franklin County likely to be split between 3 districts
Last updated 12/3/2021 at 1:53pm
OLYMPIA - The state Supreme Court this morning, Friday, Dec. 3, has declined to redraw new legislative and congressional maps.
The decision follows a failed attempt by the Redistrict Commission to reapportion the state in the wake of the 2020 Census. And it means that the maps previously submitted by the commission will likely be the establishing document for new legislative and congressional districts.
If the map is retained, Franklin and Adams Counties will be split between legislative districts.
Currently, both fall within the 9th Legislative District.
In Franklin County, areas north of Pasco and along the Columbia River will be moved into the 15th Legislative District. In Adams County, Othello would also move into the district. They would join portions of Kittitas and Grant Counties in that district.
The 15th Legislative District was redrawn to encompass predominately comprise Hispanic communities.
In the greater Tri-Cities area, Pasco would join Kennewick and Richland to comprise the 8th Legislative District.
Mesa, Eltopia, Connell, Kahlotus and areas of Franklin County northeast of Pasco would remain in the 9th Legislative District, as would Eastern Adams County, including Lind, Ritzville, Hatton and Washtucna.
Lincoln County, including the cities of Odessa, Davenport, Wilbur, Creston and others, would be added to the 9th Legislative District.
Whitman, Columbia, Garfield, Asotin and southern Spokane Counties would also be in the district.
Walla Walla County, including Burbank, will be part of the 16th Legislative District, along with a majority of Benton County.
The greater Richland area will be
In it's decision to decline assuming responsibility for redistristricting, the high court ruled:
"By voting to approve congressional and legislative redistricting plans before the end of the day on November 15, 2021, the Commission complied with its obligation under article II, subsection 43(6) of the Washington Constitution to 'complete redistricting' by that date, and it substantially complied with the essential purpose of RCW 44.05.100 to approve and transmit a plan to the legislature by that date."
Although the legislative redistricting map essentially creates a Hispanic-dominated district, the activist Northweest Progressive Institute isn't happy by the court's decision.
"It was clear to anyone who watched the commission's chaotic, disorganized meeting on Nov. 15 that it did not finish its work by the deadline," institute Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve said. "Commissioners took a vote on maps that no one had seen, not even themselves, and then promptly congratulated themselves on having done a great job before concluding the following morning that they hadn't finished on time."
Villeneuve criticized the commission and high court, noting the public never had an opportunity to review the maps, which will likely tie up redistricting in court battles.